Which Distro is best-placed to compete with Windows?

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Which Distro is best-placed to compete with Windows?

Postby david911 » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:41 pm

The "Which DISTRO kills Windows" thread made me ponder. Microsoft has an abysmal track record for dealing with innovation, and it is more than likely that for a couple of years at least Vista will be plagued with problems of compatibility and security, as well as being expensive to purchase. A prime opportunity for different operating systems to make a mark. Apple has already thrown its' hat into the ring by moving to Intel processors. Here's the question though - should an obvious gap appear, which Linux distro(s) can step forwards to capture Joe Public's heart?

Any distro which can both cut an effective deal with hardware manufacturers and approach Windows' ease of use should stand a good chance - after all, it is really only the fact that Windows comes with most new systems and has universal hardware support which accounts for its' ubiquity. Any other distro given those advantages would stand a fighting chance of competing. In this category I'd nominate Suse, Linspire, Xandros and Mandrake.

Next come the more "fashionable" distros - ones which get mentioned in Windows-orientated magazines. Last year it was Suse: Ubuntu appears to be the front-runner this year (PC Answers and PC Format have both given it favourable coverage). Mepis has had some positive coverage, too.

At the other end of the scale we have Gentoo and Debian - new users might find them a tad difficult as an introduction to Linux.

Maybe its' early to be raising the "Is this Linux' year to dominate the desktop?". but Vista is sure to disappoint a vast number of people, and Linux is very likely going to have a superb opportunity to spread.

This posting is guaranteed free of flamebait, Latin and inappropriate smilies.................

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RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete with Windows?

Postby nordle » Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:31 pm

Ahh, the year of the desktop, its a long year, been running for at least 6 now :)

Linux has been ready for my desktop since 2000, and like anything new I didn't really like it when I started. Combersome, clunky, where are the .exe's? why can't I install stuff as me, who / what the hell is _root_, stupid name. Where is the software, what are the names, I don't get it etc etc

This will always happen when going from apples to oranges, they are fruit sure, but you don't just bite into an orange straight away, it tastes foul!

If your question is, can a distro step up to the plate and be as near as possible an interface clone to winxp, then I think its probably linspire. This is what they set out to do and stated their case.

Problem with linspire is it actually gets reasonably close to its goal, but that means that many of the linux users from the last few years are not interested because they use _linux_ not a _windows clone_. This means that the word of mouth thing does not happen, the slightly techy few do not biggup linspire to the non-techy massess, unlike ubuntu. Ubuntu isn't in the same mould as linspire, but has traction amongst computer literate people. But it _might_ not quite hit the spot for average joe, although dapper is excellent.

Linspire really needed to get grass roots support before launching on the main stage, to help it shout, to raise its voice, but they did not do that, which is why IMHO 5.0 did not hit it quite so big as it should.

Roll forward a year from 5.0, and linspsire have formed some sort of OS community panel to try and get that interaction and turn non-believers around, they've hired a reasonably well known beardy bloke to help front this thing. Hired is the wrong word, got on board is better. Then they released freespire / soon to release freespire.

The question is, was it too late. Can they gain enough momentum within techy peops, so when vista is released and peoples are like "ooh, its expensive and I need a new pc, mmm not sure" then enough of their techy mates will say "try freespire".

I've left out the corporate side, but agiain, that has a massive impact, as pre-installed software won windows a lot of market share. But this seems to be down to RHEL and SLED, although with ubuntu's 5 year commitment to support, it may appear as standard on Dell machines :)
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RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete with Windows?

Postby roeleboel » Thu Jul 20, 2006 7:30 pm

Couldn't say it better... one correction though: Dapper LOOKS excellent :)
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RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete with Windows?

Postby zarathustra » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:12 pm

Well all I can say is that in my house SuSE has long been a personal favourite because it was my first distro but Mandriva on balance is installed on more of the machines. I find mandriva install to be so easy and good, little buggy at times once installed but if you are willing to tweak it they are easily overcome, not necessarily so for a new user. But that is what the net is for right?

Ubuntu whilst it may curry favour with mags it's a little more than buggy if you go down the road of Unvierse repositories, I realise this is to be expected by the more aware but to a new user this unreliability when straying from the nest can be disheartening. They get a box installed and no sooner do they install not quite tested and certified software than the box breaks.

I think this is what a user needs reliability now I quite agree that nix distros as shipped are very reliable, but people inevitably start asking you to install software for 'other' needs. Linux really needs to nail this and in my humble opinion Mandriva and SuSE are getting there. Just please buy the boxed set if for no other reasonn than the initail support.

I guess this is where the business side comes in vendors can make bucks of selling corporate support so i suppose I should say they also need to hone their support offerings. If it's used in more offices because it's reliable and the support is professional and reliable then it'll filter through to home users.

ON balance though I'd say mandriva powerpack does it for me.


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RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete with Windows?

Postby davecs » Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:27 am

Windows beater?

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Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete with Windows?

Postby TheDoctor » Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:07 pm

davecs wrote:Windows beater?

Click on my sig!


Except that the page you get doesn't actually go wild on the details.

PCLinuxOS is one of the world’s up and coming providers of a Linux Desktop Solution. With a small but dedicated development team, PClinuxOS delivers Desktop Ready Software that harnesses the power of the Open Source Community.


A good pair of opening sentences. Except that the introduction stops there. You'd have thought, if it's so great a distro, they'd give examples of what they mean. What is this Desktop Ready Software they're going to deliver? And how does it differ from what you get with other distros?
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RE: Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete with Wind

Postby nordle » Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:53 pm

I must admit, its a little low on details. Where is the information on which packages are in which versions, and the usual "whats changed" since the last version etc etc
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RE: Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete with Wind

Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:08 am

Well, so far Evesham,HP and Time have tried selling PCs with Mandrake, Suse and Linspire OS preinstalled.

Evesham tried selling a mandrake powered pc about 4 years ago, but it was in one flyer and a couple of adverts, and then disappeared (presumably because of pressure from you know who).

Time have only recently started offering Linspire 5 -their advert says windows xp home +£40, so they are charging about £15-20 for Linspire.
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete with

Postby Marrea » Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:00 pm

wyliecoyoteuk wrote:
Evesham tried selling a mandrake powered pc about 4 years ago, but it was in one flyer and a couple of adverts, and then disappeared (presumably because of pressure from you know who).


Do you not think the reason is more likely to be simply that no one bought them? Most people are abysmally ignorant of Linux and naturally expect to get Windows on their new PC. They are going to be extremely reluctant to accept some odd operating system called Mandrake or Linspire, about which they know nothing.

And those who do already know about Linux would probably not want to buy a computer with it pre-installed from Evesham or Time anyway. We're all far too used to loading our own choice of distro ourselves, or even further than that - building our own machines from scratch.

We could help to change this situation by constantly talking to our friends/colleagues about Linux and demonstrating it to them so they can see at first hand that it is a viable alternative. I wonder for instance just how knowledgeable the Evesham/Time salesmen are about the finer points of Linux and how capable they are of convincingly pushing the o.s. to possible would-be converts. We surely are in a far better position here because we can explain in detail all the advantages and stand ready to answer any queries, deal with any lingering doubts, etc.
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete with

Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Sun Jul 23, 2006 1:08 pm

Marrea wrote:
Do you not think the reason is more likely to be simply that no one bought them? Most people are abysmally ignorant of Linux and naturally expect to get Windows on their new PC.


Actually, you would have needed to be really quick (and determined) to buy one, I think that they were available for less than 3 weeks, in fact they disappeared from the website less than a fortnight after the adverts ran in a couple of Popular PC magazines.
They were apparently only available online, and actually quite difficult to find on the website.
.
Strange coincidence it might seem , but their next flyer had "Evesham recommends Windows XP" liberally splashed about.

Time seem to be going about it the right way, selling the PC with a distro on it, working, and offering XP as an extra cost option.
That way someone interested in Linux knows that the hardware will work with Linux, and they can install their own distro of preference, without having to pay the "MS tax".
If a windows user buys it with Linspire, they may take a look out of interest before installing their own dodgy copy of XP.
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete w

Postby towy71 » Sun Jul 23, 2006 2:12 pm

There are many dodgy copies of XP around but Gates was relatively relaxed cos they'd eventually have to pay for fixes and upgrades and that Microparp could just bide their time,
"Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don't pay for the software," he said. "Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade." (Bill Gates on software piracy in China, July 1998)

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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete w

Postby GMorgan » Sun Jul 23, 2006 4:57 pm

That could actually be a reason for MS to actually attempt to release buggy software. Release something full of holes and you have to update, 99% of people aren't going to be up to getting around WGA.
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete w

Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Sun Jul 23, 2006 5:23 pm

Yes, MS have for a long time seen piracy as free advertising.
Obviously, they think that now is the time to cash in on it.
It would be nice to think that Linux will increase its market share as a result of WGA, but I doubt it, as most of the pirates are fairly low IQ.
MS may, on the other hand, be trying it out for Vista- but they look like having a struggle to sell Vista anyway, for several reasons:
1. XP works well enough for most people.
2. Vista will most likely mean a hardware upgrade
3. Drivers- many older peripherals will not work.
4. It has been overhyped in the media, and delayed again and again- people are starting to lose interest.

That said, nearly anybody buying a new PC will have it as standard.
Windows 98 was probably MS's most succesful software launch, none of the more recent have sold as quickly.

It is interesting that MS are moving their game development back towards PC, while their home and entertainment division continues to haemorrhage cash at about $1.2Billion p.a. mainly due to the Xbox line.
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete w

Postby GMorgan » Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:14 pm

They see games as protection of the Windows market, Vista is heavily targetted at gamers with DX10 and such. It's just a pity it will waste so much of said gamers resources.

//edit - Also Sony are reportedly selling the PS3 preloaded with Linux so they can get a tax cut from the toy to computer transition. Anybody reckon that having millions of Linux preloaded PS3's will have an impact on the Linux gaming scene.//
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Which Distro is best-placed to compete w

Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:55 pm

Yes, they probably need the games market to push Vista.
It's nice to see them failing to buy the console market.

At present 3 of the 4 MS divisions are still losing money, and if Vista fails, the giant may well stumble, if not fall.
A company as big as MS has vast reserves, but if their base resource fails, it won't take long for them to get into trouble, mainly because such a large company has enormous expenses involved in just daily routine functions.
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